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Pets included on many shopping lists

Anita Baez buys her dogs Christmas outfits every year and new collars or harnesses as needed. “They may get new bedding or blankets this year,” she said. “They all definitely get a bath and get dressed in special outfits. They also get treats. Last year, the twins got a new parka with a matching bow and new sweater.”
Nicole Carter of Temple, owner of Pawsitive Artlook, hand-paints Christmas decorations using photographs provided by pet owners. She has been creating pet-related ornaments and Christmas decorations for about three years.

56% of America’s pets will receive presents during holidays

DAVID STONE | OUR TOWN TEMPLE

You better not bark, you better not chew; don’t chase the cat, put down that shoe. Santa Paws is coming to town, and he has a growing number of four-legged friends on his “nice” list.

According to the American Pet Products Association, 70 percent of US households include at least one pet, and 51 percent of pet owners bought a holiday gift for their animal last year — up 4 percent from 2019 — and 56 percent plan to do so this season.

In dog-loving Temple, those numbers might even be higher.

“I always get Beau a few gifts,” said Cyndi Miller of Temple. “A new treat, a dog toy, a new shirt or sweater — whatever he needs.”

Cyndi is hardly alone.

“We do stockings for our pets — dogs, a guinea pig and rabbits,” said Jessica Adkins. “My girls are adamant about it. We fill stockings with treats, toys, new leashes, collars and harnesses if they are needed.”

Need also plays a role in gifts Shannon and Brad Carey give their pets.

“They always get treats and toys,” Shannon said. “Sometimes they get something bigger, depending on what they need around Christmas time.”

Sherry Burnett also plays Santa for her pets.

“Always,” the Temple woman said. “They are a part of the family.”

Pam Griffin Moriarity has two cats — Taz and Cowboy — and this will be their first Christmas as a family.

“They are definitely getting gifts,” Pam said. “They have this special little mouse that’s worn out, so they will get a new one and a few treats — probably some catnip. It’s a good thing they can’t read.”

Mallory Anthony’s Baxter has his photo taken with Santa every year, and he gets gifts “from us and his grandparents.”

Mallory also owns Baxter’s Closet, a pet boutique located inside Vis-A-Vis Galeria, 3 W Mesquite in Rogers. 

“We sell pet clothes, toys, gifts and other animal accessories,” she said. The website is baxterscloset.com.

“My dogs tear up toys in minutes so they only get new toys at Christmas and on their birthdays,” said Maddie Ortis, also of Temple. “We buy pig ears from local vendors so Fitzgerald and Larrold — pit bull brothers — have a special holiday treat. We wrap their presents and they get to open them on Christmas morning.”

Lynda Weatherby’s dogs receive their gifts — usually treats — when the family opens presents.

Demand is high for Christmas gifts for furry family members, and businesses such as Pawsitive Artlook offer shopping solutions.

“A lot of my clients order hand-painted pet-portrait tree ornaments during the holiday season,” said Nicole Carter, owner of the Temple business. “The honor their pets who have passed and those that are still with them.”

“To be able to bring joy and comfort to families is such a blessing,” she said. “I really benefit from getting photos of people’s loved ones sent to me and hearing their stories. I have the best job in the world.”

Nicole, who has been painting pets for about three years, works from her Temple home and sells products through social media (https://linktr.ee/PawsitiveArtlook) and at pop-up booths in Temple and at Razzle Dazzle specialty shop in Belton.

“I have a close working relationship with K9s of Valor and the Wilco K9 unit,” she said. “I paint memorials of their dogs. I also paint canvas magnets, ornaments and I’ve done murals in the past.”

“I specialize in painting pets, but I paint family pictures and other custom artwork as well,” she said. “I also dabble in digital artwork.”

Taylor Tate said she heads to Mobi Dog Pet Salon & Spa to spoil her pets.

“Mobi Dog is a full pet boutique with tons of gifts and treats for Christmas,” she said.

According to the American Pet Products Association, they are sound reasons for an increase in giving Christmas gifts for pets.

Demand for animal companionship soared during COVID-19 related lockdowns, and Americans spent more than $100 billion on pets for the first time in 2020. That figure includes expenses for medical care, food, supplies, services and the cost to buy or adopt the animal.

Given the support that many animals provided in the pandemic, it’s natural for owners to want to pamper their pets. This year, spending on pets is expected to top $110 billion. Pet industry experts compare the influx of new dogs and cats to the baby boom that took place in the years following World War II.

Andrea Felsted of Bloomberg contributed to this report

Melissa Bortz Sebek said she buys her “babies” new toys, matching pj’s and special doggy treats every Christmas. This photo, Melissa explained, is from Halloween. “We dress them up in costumes and drive them around looking at all the decorations and trick-or-treaters,” she said. “We live in the country so we don’t get trick-or-treaters.”
Kristy Torres’ cats really get into the Christmas spirit. “Our boys get dressed up for the holiday and get gifts along with the rest of the family,” the Temple resident said. Kristy isn’t alone in celebrating Christmas with her pets. Some 56 percent of the nation’s pet owners are expected to buy their pets holiday presents this year. 

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